Oct. 24, 2017

Partnership increases access to legal services for families

With funding from UCalgary Law, Aspire Legal Access Initiative to help Calgary families with legal matters.

Nearly two-thirds of self-represented litigants in family court can’t access or afford legal advice or representation. A new legal service in Calgary is setting out to change that.

The Aspire Legal Access Initiative (ALAI), led by executive director Kyla Sandwith, will increase access to legal services for Calgarians dealing with family law matters by providing clients with the information, advice and support they need to take charge of their own file.

“We are not a traditional law firm. Our aim is to empower clients to handle their own file and make the legal services they do need more accessible,” says Sandwith. “We leverage technology and maximize efficiencies where we can. This means we can keep costs low and offer sliding scale, flat-fee services that are accessible to all Calgarians.”

Aspire Legal Access Initiative

With funding from UCalgary Law, Aspire Legal Access Initiative to help Calgary families

Services provided by ALAI currently include joint and uncontested divorces. Parenting agreements, coaching for self-represented litigants attending court, and initial consultations will follow in the coming weeks.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been the originator of the Aspire Legal Access Initiative, and to be a driving force in increasing access to justice for Calgarians,” says Dean Ian Holloway, of the Faculty of Law. “It fits perfectly with our dual goals of being at the leading edge of innovation in legal education, and to being Calgary’s law school. That we are able to do so while giving our graduates hands-on learning opportunities and at the same time increasing the number of family law practitioners in the city is a win-win situation for everyone.”

The Aspire Legal Access Initiative is located at the University of Calgary’s Downtown Campus.

About the Aspire Legal Access Initiative

The Aspire Legal Access Initiative is an independent not-for-profit organization and a teaching site for select graduates from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law. Participants complete their articling requirements and begin developing their professional career under the guidance of a practicing lawyer, gaining valuable experience working directly with self-represented individuals in the area of family law.